Democracy

‘Brussels is SPINNING out the talks’ Ministers urged to UNITE to stop EU ‘wasting time’

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BRITISH Cabinet members arguing over the Government’s Brexit position should “come together” to keep the European Union from delaying withdrawal talks with the UK, think tank director Henry Newman said. Aurora Bosotti Express Mr Newman suggested arguments between Cabinet members over the Government’s Brexit position do not help securing a beneficial deal from the European Union. Theresa May has been facing increasing pressure from both Remainers and Brexiteers because of the proposals for the future trade relationship with the bloc she presented. Brexiteers ... Read More »

Jordan PM quits over tax protests, reformer named successor

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Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday accepted the resignation of his embattled prime minister and named a leading reformer in his place, hoping to quell the largest anti-government protests in recent years that… AMMAN – Associated Press Hurriyet The kingdom is a key military and political ally of the West in a turbulent region, and any threat to Jordan’s stability is viewed with concern, particularly by neighboring Israel and by the U.S. Prime Minister Hani Mulki’s resignation came after several days ... Read More »

The Grey Zone: space that gives us freedom is under threat

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In recent years, a Middle East-based organisation has been thinking about what it calls “the Grey Zone”. The term refers to the pluralist, open, multicultural space that is fundamental to the way a functioning democratic society works. Peter Greste Brisbane Times The Grey Zone allows us to live alongside different faiths without killing one another; it is the space that means we can have robust political debates without punching each other in the nose. It is the space defined by ... Read More »

Surprising catch behind my idea for new political party

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I’m thinking I’ll start a new party. Political, not daiquiri. And not a party of protest, like One Nation or the Shooters. Elizabeth Farrelly Brisbane Times A party of central purpose. Because honestly, this can’t continue. The lying and conniving, the greed and gutlessness, the shameless expedience and entrenched short-termism. Someone’s gotta sort them out, right? Give them a proper run for their money. It’ll be the TT Party, and it’ll stand for simple decency. Nothing grand or utopian. Just ... Read More »

Africa’s whistleblowers

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‘All I did was tell the truth’ Those who denounce corruption face hardship and physical danger even when there’s a legal framework that should protect and guarantee them a fair hearing. by Olivier Piot Le Monde diplomatique South African president Jacob Zuma resigned in February over the biggest corruption scandal since the end of apartheid, which involved both the president and his son. Zuma’s exit became inevitable last June, after the publication of thousands of confidential documents revealing that the ... Read More »

Police deliver another blow to public trust

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The revelation of breathtaking bad behaviour by police who have faked more than a quarter of a million roadside blood alcohol tests has further undermined already battered public faith in public institutions. Editorial The Age This scandalous practice compromises data on drink-driving and brings into question the ability to police and diminish the road toll. This is corruption, even if no bribery or personal financial incentive is involved, as it meant lying about statistics to serve personal interests, rather than ... Read More »

The Desperation to Keep Turkey Different

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With an election looming, secularists are on the defensive to protect their way of life. Donna Abu-Nasr and Cagan Koc Bloomberg It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but in Istanbul smokers huddle outside offices, couples sip beer and sex workers call out to young men from balconies. The contrast with some Arab countries that penalize people for publicly breaking the dawn-to-dusk abstention from food and drink couldn’t be more striking in and around the city’s central Taksim Square. And supporters of that Turkish way ... Read More »

5 takeaways from the overthrow of Mariano Rajoy

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attends a session at the Lower House of Parliament in Madrid on May 30, 2018, two days before the assembly will debate a no-confidence motion against his government. - The Socialists filed the motion seeking Rajoy's ouster in parliament, a day after a court fined his Popular Party for benefiting from illegal funds in a massive graft trial. Spain's National Court said it had uncovered a vast system of bribes given to former PP officials in exchange for lucrative public contracts between 1999 and 2005. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

The new prime minister will have an even weaker minority government than his predecessor, but won’t be in a hurry to call elections. Diego Torres Politico MADRID — Mariano Rajoy is out. Pedro Sánchez is in. Welcome to a new era in Spain. Sánchez, leader of the Socialists, won enough backing in parliament on Friday for a motion of no confidence in Rajoy, shortly after a court ruling in a graft scandalinvolving former officials from the prime minister’s Popular Party. It was ... Read More »

How Greece’s Busiest Port Reveals the Perils of Privatization

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Dockworkers say the same “harsh neoliberal experiment” that reduced their wages will spread to the rest of Europe. Alexander Saeedy The Nation Around 7 am at the Port of Piraeus near Athens, deckhands dressed in white began to unmoor the cruise liners and yachts filled with thousands of sleepy travelers ready to cross the Aegean Sea. But as the tourist trade picked up in the passenger and cruise terminals, some of the hundreds of dockworkers in the port’s northern cargo ... Read More »

Aboriginal reconciliation and what we can learn from a French philosopher

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What can a French historian and philosopher tell us about reconciliation between black and white in Australia? More than a century ago, when in Australia it was still widely presumed that Aboriginal people were a dying race, Ernest Renan was grappling with the question, what is a nation? By Matter of Fact host Stan Grant ABC It remains one of the most profound and powerful statements of identity, written in 1882 in the shadows of the French Revolution. Renan sought to ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: Winners and losers on the tests of judgement, temperament and character

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It’s obvious, but easily underestimated, that in politics judgement and temperament are key. Together with character, with which they’re often entwined, they are probably more important than… Michelle Grattan The Conversation We just need to look at the federal scene today. Barnaby Joyce provides the current case study about the importance of judgement or in his instance, lack or it. Here is a career, so carefully built, dramatically torn down by his own hand. And as for temperament, we have ... Read More »

Lunch with the ruralists

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Landowners control Brazil’s parliament A group of wealthy agribiz owners get to make self-enriching policy affecting millions because they backed the overthrow of Dilma Rousseff. by Anne Vigna  Le Monde diplomatique he parliamentary ‘ruralist’ group meets every Tuesday in a villa in a classy district of Brasília, and, according to its PR, ‘they have lunch and discuss a different topic every week.’ The ruralists form a lobby of powerful landowning parliamentarians, and the results of their discussions later reach Congress ... Read More »

The shriveling ally

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Only yesterday, Turkey was considered a candidate for membership in the European Union, a reliable friend of the West. The Washington Times Turkey was reasonably modern, forward looking, and Western oriented. Turkey was already a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and membership in the EU would only cement its alliance with the West. Alas, over the past several years Turkey has devolved from something unique to something close to just another depressing redoubt of Middle Eastern despotism. Recep ... Read More »

Accountability is key to building trust in Australia’s intelligence community

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Intelligence doesn’t have to be, and rarely is, James Bond-esque. Indeed, 007 is the world’s worst spy: everyone knows who he is, meaning he is compromised, exposed and susceptible to blackmail before he… Daniel Baldino The Conversation But the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and the all-encompassing “war on terror” that followed, did have a major transformative impact on the handling of secrecy and surveillance activities in… One impact has been the growth of executive authority in national security. This ... Read More »

Barnaby Joyce’s decision to sell his story is a breach of professional ethics

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Barnaby Joyce’s decision to accept money – reportedly $150,000 – from Channel Seven in return for giving an interview about his relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion, calls into question his fitness for public office. Denis Muller The Conversation It betrays a complete lack of understanding of the convention that in democratic political systems, public officials are accountable through the media to the people. That responsibility to be accountable comes with public office. It is not a marketable commodity. ... Read More »

Italy’s political crisis is a moment of reckoning for European liberal democracy

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After months of wrangling, Italy’s political crisis has a hit an impasse, with new elections now increasingly likely. James Newell The Conversation The country faces an institutional crisis without precedent in the history of the Italian republic. Its implications extend well beyond Italy, to the European Union as a whole. Since an election on March 4, there have been endless vain attempts to form a government – with the likely outcome changing every 24 hours. By mid-May, the Five Star ... Read More »